Secretary General of the Cairo Doctors’ Syndicate Ihab Al-Taher wrote two letters to top health officials on Tuesday in objection to ongoing investigations into doctors who took part in the 2012 partial doctors’ strike.
The doctors being investigated include Sana’a Fouad and Nagah Hassanein who have already been questioned by prosecutors last month. Fouad said the accusation against her was “inciting doctors to strike”.
Fouad was a member of an elected committee tasked with coordinating the strike nationwide. Hassanein wa
s facing trouble with hospital administrators for taking part in the strike and called Fouad who went to the hospital and talked to its director about how he should be helping doctors to strike.
Fouad said the hospital director made complaints against both of them. They were referred to investigations by Chairman of the Giza Doctors’ Syndicate Abdel-Nasser Saqr.
Foaud said “there is no such thing as inciting to strike. You either obey the decision of the general assembly or you do not.”
The strike has caused repeated frictions between striking doctors and those who did not. When the strike was suspended in December, it was agreed that all investigations with doctors who supported the strike would also be suspended.
In a letter to Chairman of the General Doctors’ Syndicate Khairy Abdel-Dayem, Al-Taher called on the syndicate to investigate Saqr ahead of referring him to a disciplinary committee for violating the decisions of the general assemblies.
Al-Taher wrote another letter to the Minister of Health Mohamed Hamed announcing complete solidarity with Sahar Hassanein, another doctor who is being investigated by the general prosecution, also for inciting strike. Sahar Hassanein was referred to investigations by a ministry official. Al-Taher called on Hamed to start investigations with the official for “settling scores” and “abuse of power”.
The 2012 strike was held to achieve three demands: the gradual raising of the state budget for health to 15% of government spending, tougher punishments for people who attack hospitals or medical staff, and passing a new law that guarantees a minimum wage for everyone who works in the Ministry of Health, not just doctors.
In a seminar on restructuring wages in the health sector by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Amr Al-Shura, the spokesperson of Doctors Without Rights said unfortunately most doctors who took part in the strike did it for the wages, not for reform.
He said there must be a minimum and maximum wage in the health sector without burdening the state with more financial obligations.